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Inclusive teaching and learning approaches in education and training

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Produce a briefing document for a new member of staff who will be delivering classes in your specialist area embedding functional skills. The document should demonstrate your understanding of:

A) The key features of inclusive teaching and learning (ref. 1.1)

Inclusive learning is about ensuring all your learners have the opportunity to be involved and included in the learning process. It’s also about treating all learners equally and fairly, without directly or indirectly excluding anyone. Inclusion is about attitudes as well as behaviour, as learners can be affected by the words or actions of others. All learners must feel that they are positively and equally valued and accepted, and that their efforts to learn are recognised, and judged without bias. It is not enough that they are tolerated. They must feel that they and the groups to which they belong (e.g. gender, social-class or attainment groups) are fully and equally accepted and valued by you, and the establishment in which you work’. You are not teaching your subject to a group of learners who are all the same, but to a group of individuals with different experiences, abilities and needs which should be recognised and respected. Agreeing individual learning plans (ILPs) can help formalise this.

B) Why it is important to provide opportunities for learners to develop their English, Mathematics, ICT and wider skills such as communication, personal and employability.

Providing opportunities for learners to practice the skills they need often means hiding them on normal learning activities as many learners are resistant to Maths, Literacy and information Communication Technology (ICT) classes. The idea of functional skills was developed by Government to “provide essential knowledge, skills and understanding that will enable people to function confidently, effectively and independently in life and at work”. Functional skills in education should be, where possible, engaging especially if past experience is minimal or not a favourable one. The tutor may use ICT to complement their teaching of the other functional skills, such as emailing them an initial assessment form to fill out on a personal computer, then email back, interactive lesson that getting the learner up using the interactive white boards. Many educational institutions have an online learning area where class notes, homework or power points are uploaded and can be accessed by the learners from home, providing time for recap or further work.

Within the construction department, functional skills are naturally embedded in almost everything without thinking about it. Maths is in everything from measuring a length of timber or gauging a brick wall to the ratios in concrete mixes. English is in the reading and understanding the questions and writing the answers. ICT is in the research to find information to answer questions and researching process for their job quoting projects. There are many benefits of teaching and achieving functional skills qualifications. By embedding functional skills, learners are not daunted by the idea of a standalone Maths, English or ICT session. Learners become unaware that functional skills are even being taught and will be more open to receiving information.

C) Why it is important to create an inclusive teaching and learning environment (ref. 2.1)

An inclusive learning environment is one in which all those participating feel able to actively engage, feel safe and feel welcome. An inclusive learning environment also acknowledges and celebrates difference as part of everyday life. Society today is incredibly diverse. Your class could include learners from many different backgrounds, of widely varying ages and of different intelligence levels as well as people for whom English is not their first language. You may also teach people with differing learning needs and requirements. These may include disabled people (physical and mental), people who are dyslexic, discalculaic or dispraxic, visually impaired or colour blind, hard of hearing or with “invisible” illnesses like diabetes or epilepsy. It helps you, the tutor, with fulfilling the lesson requirements if you can ascertain in advance any special learning requirements or needs your learners have during the time they are in your class. This may, for example, be access for a wheelchair, being aware if someone is dyslexic, if someone has particular religious beliefs which must be catered for or whether someone needs to take medicine at a certain time. Then, when aware of any special needs, ensuring that these needs are met in a caring and professional manner.

D) Ways to engage and motivate learners (ref. 2.3)

A learners’ reason for wanting to learn something new can affect their motivation. A learner who is self-funded and wants to learn for personal or job progression reasons is likely to be more highly motivated than some who been “told” to attend, sent against their will or who is not interested in the subject. Regardless of an individuals’ motivation, members of the group have a right to learn in an inclusive learning environment that is not marred by un or de-motivated learners. It helps the tutor to create and maintain a positive learning environment if they are aware of their learners’ motivations, as the less-motivated may have less focus and possibly be more inattentive, perhaps even disruptive, than other, more highly motivated learners.

So knowledge whether a learners’ motivation is from within (intrinsic) or from without (extrinsic) is an important factor for the tutor to ascertain, in order that they can provide a positive learning experience for all. There are several factors involved in a learners’ motivation, which could include any or all of the following: how interesting or useful they consider the subject, how strongly they wish to achieve a result, their existing levels of ability, self-confidence and self-esteem and how determined they are to succeed.

E) Ways to establish ground rules with learners. (ref. 2.4)

Ground rules are the foundations upon which a positive and supportive learning environment is built. Ground rules set the boundaries (limiting factors) and conditions for learners. They provide for respect and the right behaviour of the group. Rather than impose ground rules, they should be openly and democratically discussed and agreed by everyone. In this way, all learners have the chance to be involved and are included in the setting of the rules. This helps with “buy-in” and commitment for all involved. There are a few exceptions to the democratic method. For health and safety reasons or because the company commissioning the training requires it, there may be some pre-determined ground rule imposed. These could include No smoking

No anti-social / dangerous behaviour
Following Health and Safety rules

Examples of negotiated ground rules could include:

Dress code
Use of mobiles / tablets during the training
Length of time taken for tea and lunch breaks
Ground rules can be changed or added to as the lesson(s) progress and how this is done can be up to the group to decide, or could be imposed by the tutor if a problem arises. The benefits of having ground rules are that everyone agrees to their establishment and compliance with them.

Task Aii unit 302
Compare the strengths and limitations of teaching and learning approaches used in your own area of specialism in relation to meeting individual learner needs. My area of specicialism would be highways maintenance, I am the managing director of my own company and have been for over 4 years and have 14 years experience in my field of work. There have been many times that I have had to apply teaching and learning approaches to specific tasks I have had operatives conduct within the work place, these can range from seemingly minor tasks for example, while working in the centre reservation of the highway an operative is directed to obtain equipment from a vehicle which would require him to come into close contact with or in some cases encroach within the safe working area adjacent to live traffic, or major issues why by he may be working in the vicinity of high voltage electrical cable. Without teaching and learning approaches it may have been virtually impossible to direct the operatives and learners with the correct operational method of work.

The strength in this is organising and scheduling plans as an essential part of my job as a trainer. Providing regular formative checks on learning and summative grading of work provides structure. Talking with my operatives and learners and helping them to understand the criteria have set, when, where and what requirements they need to fulfil is of the utmost importance to help them to understand what they need to learn to succeed in the learning process. Some examples of teaching and learning approaches strengths and limitation would be: When an observation is taking place this allows a chance to view the candidate communication and professionalism and record authentic evidence of the learner demonstrating their understanding in a professional context in the workplace. This provides opportunity for the learner to review the work for developmental purposes whilst providing the trainer with an opportunity to capture engagement with the learner in questioning throughout a set task. A drawback would be the time consuming nature of observation and the subsequent need to link the evidence to a witness testimony e.g. written/ witness authentication / witness interview.

When using work product this can be a useful way to assess at the end of a project in a summative grade. The finished product e.g. a fencing run on the side of a high speed highway or a small P4 termination can provide the trainer with the evidence/ culmination of a learners understanding of a Unit. This can provide the learner with work to take forward as an exemplar of their skills, whilst providing an industry context aim to an assignment that can make the assignment more realistic and tangible. The end product can be hard to assess in and of itself so an accompanying pre-production/ making of portfolio is often needed to contextualise and evidence individual candidates contribution (particularly in group tasks) whilst showing the process. This can be time-consuming on the candidate and the trainer if not prepared correctly with clear, well-defined bench-marks for the project at each key stage of the production.

Witness testimony is a great way of collecting evidence from candidates engaged in practical tasks and can be evidenced with video of the learner using skills and reflecting on their practice. This needs to be coupled with written/ witness authentication cross-referenced with the criteria the activity is addressing. I have found that a witness interview is also useful to allow the learner further opportunity to reflect on their progress. A drawback is the amount of work needed (statements/ videos etc.) to prove the learners understanding. The subsequent difficulty in standardising the evidence can be troublesome as different learners may struggle to demonstrate verbally that they understand the task. Questioning is a fast way to check on learning and ensure the candidate is paying attention with content and the objective is being developed.

I could use a range of methods so as not worry/ un-necessarily fill my candidates with the fear that I experienced as a learner. I feel that using different types of questioning (‘do you agree with…’, ‘…what do you think?’, ‘you made a good point in your essay about…’) I can create a conversation using different levels of contribution from every one verbally. Using differentiated methods makes questioning approachable for the candidates and removes the fear that can stop so many candidates engaging in conventional directed questioning. There are elements of questioning that can worry candidates so a differentiated approach is essential. The lack of standardisation is problematic as well so regular quizzes, polls, verbal checks with learners referring to the same criteria for all candidates is important to check progress in a fair manner.

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